The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Red Cross to cut Baghdad staff

Baghdad, Aug. 25 (Agencies): The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is reducing its Baghdad staff due to security concerns after last week’s truck bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Iraq.

“We are forced to reduce the number of our staff in Baghdad,” Nada Doumani, the ICRC spokeswoman in Baghdad, said yesterday.

She declined to reveal the exact numbers involved but said around 50 expatriate staff would remain in Baghdad to carry out humanitarian work. They will be assisted by 700 local employees.

“The level of violence is very high and the authority in charge cannot ensure security throughout the country,” Doumani said in clear reference to the occupying US-led forces that ousted Saddam Hussein’s government four months ago.

Tuesday’s blast at the UN compound killed at least 24 people, including top UN envoy in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 100, many of them UN staff members. The ICRC is engaged in a wide range of activities, from monitoring the conditions of prisoners of war to reconstruction projects.

The UN spokeswoman in Iraq, Veronique Taveau, said the world body, which had evacuated more than half of its expatriate staff from Iraq after the bombing, today said it had found a new headquarters in Baghdad.

She said a UN security team had arrived in Baghdad to investigate how Tuesday’s suicide attack had happened and draw up new security measures.

“We have found new premises that will be ready in a few days, but a part of our staff will remain for the moment in the Canal Hotel because the new offices are too small,” Taveau said.

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